AUBURN, Mass. – The Auburn Housing Authority did not approve an ice skating rink at Pakachoag Village last week, but Auburn residents will get to skate on an outdoor rink this winter after all.
On Wednesday, the town’s Department of Public Works will begin constructing a public skating rink at Prospect Park in the Veterans Memorial Corridor, next to Chuck’s Steakhouse and the Dunkin’ Donuts on Southbridge Street, according to Town Manager Julie Jacobson.
“We’re very excited to provide skating to our residents,” Jacobson said. “It should take a few days for the rink to freeze, but, weather permitting, we’re hoping the rink will be ready for school vacation week.
“We’re also hoping this rink draws attention to the beautiful veterans park,” she added.
The rink will be smaller than the one proposed for Pakachoag Village, but it will still be a good size for kids, Jacobson said. There will be benches next to the rink, it will be visible from the road and attendees can park in Chuck’s Steakhouse’s parking lot, Jacobson said.
“The rink will be great for local businesses in the area,” she said. “People can go into Dunkin’ Donuts for hot cocoa, or they can go into Chuck’s for food afterward. We’re very excited.”
This decision to build a rink at Prospect Park comes a week after the Auburn Housing Authority wouldn’t approve a skating rink on its land at Pakachoag Village, adjacent to the Senior Center.
“Given that next week is school vacation week, and we didn’t have the approval from the Housing Authority, we needed to choose an alternative site and start construction this week,” Jacobson said. “We hope to still collaborate next year with the Housing Authority, and, hopefully, Pakachoag Village will work out. But we’re excited for the public to come out to Prospect Park this winter.”
Last week, the Housing Authority adjourned after a two-minute meeting in front of Auburn town officials and residents, telling the interested parties that the state told the authority not to vote on the ice skating rink -- which contradicts what a state official told The Daily Voice after the meeting.
Matthew Sheaff, director of communications for the state Department of Housing and Community Development, said “No one from the state advised them to not take a vote.”
Lori Brennan, executive director of the Housing Authority, was sought for comment by telephone and in person, but she has not responded since last week.